Crazy Transparent


Truth is I’ve never been big on playing things safe.  Over the years, I’ve taken what others considered foolish risks speaking truth to power.  I was raised to stand for what I believe is right, just as I was taught to listen to dissent.  We are here to make a big difference, not to just make it big.  And reality is that I benefited tangibly  from standing up instead of sitting down, much to the shocked amazement of family friends co-workers.

My blessing is that I’ve known people who have reached great heights, who make mega bucks & live BIG lives ~AND~ touch people in remarkable ways, make a profound difference to those around them & the world.

And people who appear to have small lives who make out-sized differences to those in their hearts & in their care.

And then there is me.

I made it what people would consider big in the corporate world.  Never came remotely close to corner office status, but I made my mark & garnered my share of accolades.  Successes that can be traced to opening my BIG mouth instead of playing it safe, in being whackadoodle innovative in the face of old-school stone walling, in unconsciously ruffling feathers instead of strategically soothing egos.

This came alive for me reading p. 78 of  THE AGELESS WAY ~ “Truth-telling isn’t just about speaking out on big issues.  It’s about embodying our truth, big and small.  It starts with being honest with ourselves, with who we really are, inside and out.  and then stepping into that truth…  ~  Every day is your moment of truth.”

What makes this a challenge to do is  that we all have our own experience of truth.  I can say without a entsy teensy bit of doubt that people I hold dear to my heart do NOT share my ideas of what qualifies as truth.

There are people who care deeply about us who think that John & I are nuts to live the way we do.  We see it as living from our truth.

For those who don’t know our story, when we were married in 1989, everything in our personal & professional lives looked totally on course to FABULOUS.  I had a rewarding job working in Public Relations & Advertising at Prudential HealthCare, with a boss who cared about what we did, not just checking off each project as it was completed.  John had a booming career as a freelance commercial illustrator.

Within eight years, his client list was decimated by computers & mine fell apart when PHCS was acquired by AETNA & I became superfluous.

If you looked at our lives over the next twenty years, they could seem to be falling apart at the seems.  Not a typo.  As in well-meaning friends saying things like “it seems that two talented people like you should easily find new jobs” ~and~ “it seems like you should look harder for new work.”  They meant well, but didn’t realize – heck, we didn’t realize – that everything WAS coming together.

The work we both did in our earlier lives trained the two of to become cheerleaders for expansive living right across the age spectrum.  We are terrific at enrichment, totally suck at any sort of maintenance help because our truth is we’ve known precious few elderly people in need of “daily task” support.  Until her last five weeks, Mom handled her list of meds, Mom M. lived 100% independently, their friends were singularly capable of taking care of themselves with a modicum of assistance.

Another core truth to know about us is that we incline toward collaboration AND yet we lead fairly solitary lives.  For a very long time, that was a sadness, especially for me.  Not any more.  Because solitary is our current truth, we are able to do nutty things like drive to & from DC for an Aging2.0 cocktail hour event – no kids tried to convince us to stay home because all our children are 4-legged, furry & meow.  We can nip into Philly tomorrow to attend our first Positive Aging Lunch because no one needs us to baby watch.  We can take back-to-back trips to NYC on Wed & Thurs without anyone cluck clucking that, at 65 & 72, it is too much.

For years, it grieved my heart that we never had children.  Now, I see where it gives us the free time to do things that beckon, from attending events to writing blog posts to checking out books articles websites that others are too maxed out to read.

The only way I can make a success of what we are setting out to accomplish is to be as open transparent as possible.  Neither of us have any letters after our names, our value is rooted in our personal life stories, our experiences with remarkable older men & women who were lights unto our paths during their lives & will illuminate our uses to the end of our own days.

We look forward to returning to the financially stable lives of past years, but are currently in flux in that department.  We choose to interpret our status as being on the edge of tomorrow, as we channel Proust – “If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time.”

Our truth is that we live on the edge because we seek to push it out more & more, to help make it possible for everyone – whatever their age – to live as expansively as both our mothers, as friends like Anne Hyatt &  life mentors like Otho Heilman, Viola Ridgeway, Aubrey Odhner.

We are fledglings at being organized & using time effectively, but we move forward in wiser directions every day.  I cannot overstate the boost I’ve gotten from Karen Sands’ book – 1/3 of THE AGELESS WAY is a workbook that feels written just for ME, a companion to THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD, the book that finally – at 63+ – got my head fully in the game.

There might be things shared here that leave you thinking, “Seriously?  They admitted that?”  John & I have no fear – not of scrounging enough together to feed both the cats AND  us, not of school taxes, not of roofs needing reshingling,  certainly for a 141,000 mile stout-hearted & true car.  We are explorers, whacking our way through the unknown, going boldly forward .

Terra incognita if ever there was one!  A place where more & more people celebrate 100th birthdays, as four living generation families – sometimes under one roof! – become less & less a rarity.

We’re moving toward a time where lifetimes are significantly lengthened but old negative images of aging upward remain deeply entrenched, in our culture & our minds.  Turning that around requires daring souls willing to speak truth to the powers-that-be  (including our own loved ones, including ourselves!),  willing to be transparent in goals & outspoken in intentions.

Our communities nation world need all of us to to be brave courageous audacious enough to pair truth-telling with equally brave courageous audacious LISTENING.  We need to embody, each in our own ways – from over-sized & outspoken to small & hushed – the iconic Apple ad…

Here’s to the crazy ones.

The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.

The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.


POWerful Convergence

Karen Sands notes in her wondrous book, THE AGELESS WAY, that this is a crucial moment, one that “reflects the convergence of two historical trends:  the evolution of psychology to include humanistic, trans personal & lifespan development theory;  and the widening impact of population aging in all post-industrial societies.”  (p. 45)


From purely personal experience rather than based on any empirical findings, I’d add  two additional converging trends, making one mega POWerful moment ripping up a stunted “aging” status quo, freeing space for radical evolution & change:  thanks to technology flattening entrenched hierarchies & democratizing information, more people like ME can establish businesses without going through the financial hoops or limited data access that kept many earlier entrepreneurs stuck in the visions stage;  and the economic/societal upheavals that hit early in the millennium created an unprecedented need for people to reboot careers, sparking a continuing wave of entrepreneurial thinking & innovative new enterprises.

In short, technology & disasters tossed the old rule book out the window.

My mother’s life shifted because of the two trends Karen notes, plus the third, a shift she happily acknowledged:  “I have heard that timing is everything and the issue of aging is no different. From the mid-1960s to recently, the culture in the USA did not give much value to older people. The times today are a-changing as the generation of revolutionaries who declared “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” now find themselves eligible for AARP+ membership. I have found that the voice of wisdom is increasingly sought out by a generation that has no intention of becoming invisible or going softly into that goodnight.”  (The Velveteen Grammie)

Mine shifted through the convergence of all four, creating a singular, timeless yet time-bound moment.  Past & future draw together into a surrealistic now that reminds me windows of opportunity are open for a brief span; that while getting to NOW could not be rushed, THIS moment will not linger long.  The Universe looks to ACTION for affirmation of its out-stretched opportunities; make the effort to seize the golden moment, or feel it brush past in search of someone who will.


Let’s take a look at the two trends Karen notes, plus the two I tacked on:

1st trend:  the acknowledgement that we live successively, in a continuum stretching across a spectrum of development, NOT in set stages staggered across segments of separate spans, delineated epochs.

2nd trend:  developed countries’ 2-edged sword of longer life

3rd trend:  flattened hierarchies & increased access to data create practically unlimited opportunities..

4th trend:  liberating economic/societal disruption resulted in unprecedented entrepreneurism.

Take a long last last look, then ask yourself – which trends have I left off?  Which ones will develop tomorrow or next week month year?  What will be the WOW at their point of convergence?


Okay, I finished reading THE AGELESS WAY on Monday,  wrote my 2nd review about it yesterday, was geared up to tackle the end-of-chapter Reflections, when it hit me – last night – that the book has exerted a greater power over me than I’d imagined.

Last night, John & I were at a “Designing Your Dream Day,” part of Be Well Cafe‘s Wellness Speaker Series.  A table of five women, ranging in age from early twenties to forties, sat to my left.  They looked like the sort of friendship circle that most touches my heart, so I introduced myself & shared my happiness at seeing them together.  Then, to my shock, I heard “There’s a book you should get & read together!” come out of my mouth! And I dove right in, describing THE AGELESS WAY.

As I started describing Karen Sands’ opus, they edged back a bit in their seats, like they suspected they were dealing with a crazed publisher, but as I described THE AGELESS WAY – the generous margins, the interweaving of subject matter, that reading it would give them an unmeasurable advantage moving forward in their lives – they leaned toward me.

I am NOT the sort of person who goes around advocating authors & their books, but I am convinced that reading Karen’s book – all the people & stories & lives she draws into it, as well as her own strong clear clarifying voice – would put all of us in a terrific place, whether we are aging upward from 20, 40, 60, 80, 100.

The depth of my belief harks back to…  dessert.  Young adulthood is the equivalent of Jello – tasty but still a bit wobbly.  Our middle years blend into a luscious pudding – cool creamy delectable.  But our upper years – ah, they beat the other two on every count!  They combine into a fabulous trifle, delectable layer upon layer beckoning others to dip deep down & discover a sampling of our textures & flavors.

That could equally describe THE AGELESS WAY.  I have just gotten through the first layer; the second automatically formed through my personal response – underlines words comments throughout the book.  Am just started on the third – journaling my impressions, jotting down the quotes that speak most deeply to me, recording what I jotted in the margins.  Then, will onto the fourth – going through the exercises at the end of each chapter.

That IS a lot of work & will take way more time than doing the end-of-chapter exercises as I read through.  We all read differently.  That would work for many, maybe most people.  For good or ill, when a book calls to ME, it can take eons to fully finish it.  The deeper the call, the longer the read.  I need to take the time to concoct a trifle – with some books, the treasured few, Jello & pudding won’t cut it.

Again, I urge everyone 20+ to read & experience THE AGELESS WAY.  As I told the circle of friends next to us last night, it will touch deepen enrich your life experience in unimagined ways.


I’ve spent days, weeks reading THE AGELESS WAY   Will spend more weeks journaling.  Will cap that by printing out the workbook Karen so generously makes available, using it as my guide in processing through the end-of-chapter reflections.   But my way isn’t yours ~ some people will get a lot just reading through it, without even doing the exercises.  Do what works for YOU.

As for me…  Well, it was a couple years back that I learned that, with certain books (a precious few), a DEEP read works best for me.  A former student  (Blessings on you, Andy Adams!),  now a successful serial entrepreneur, recommended  The Greatest Salesman in the World  after  I griped about what I felt was my weak internal infrastructure.  He suggested I read a book by an author by the curious name of Og Mandino.  I ordered it that very night!  From reading that book as the author intended, I learned that some books – the few – are meant to be read, reread, reread again & again, leading to more than fresh insight & inspiration. Leading to permanent, glorious transformation

I started reading The Greatest Salesman in the World when I was 63, finished it a year later.  Andy’s hunch was right – it tightened up & strengthened my previously woefuly weak inner infrastructure.  I’ve always wondered what I could do for him to fully express my appreciation for his life-evolving, world-changing advice.


But not anymore.

Thanks, Karen, for writing the perfect “thank you” gift – your glorious trifle,  THE AGELESS WAY.

THE AGELESS WAY ~ a must-read book

Whatever your age, my advice is to grab your own copy of Karen Sands’ THE  AGELESS  WAY & read it.  Read it all the way through, making notations in the brilliantly generous margins.  Read through a 2nd time, doing the exercises at the end of each chapter.  Then let it steep & work its magic.

Okay, I’ve only gotten through Step One – just finished it the other day, in itself a special experience, since the tag end is an afterword by H.R. “Rick” Moody, the guiding light of the Positive Aging movement.  The words I’d struggled to find to describe Karen’s book were right there, in his last sentence –  “What Karen Sands has done by interweaving Herstory & history with mythology & modern-day story, trend-spotting, resources, and each chapter’s clarifying questions… is to shine a light on what we need so profoundly to understand & see.”

Amen, brother!  And reading Rick’s words, my own much broader description hit me – THE  AGELESS  WAY is 1/3 manifesto;, 1/3 Karen storytelling through moments & myth, the ins & outs & ’round abouts of aging upward; 1/3 provides the ways & means to become more grounded in our now, whatever age that might be, and live forward fully. Turns out the book is about one of my own favorite taglines ~ full-throttle living, at every age.

Writing this review puts me in mind of my mother.  Mom was a gifted writer, but if the topic was especially close to her heart, she invariably found herself stumped at finding words to match her thoughts, feelings – she could write about the days leading up to my wedding, but never the actual day.  Too close.  That’s how I feel about THE  AGELESS  WAY ~ its effect goes so deep, so real, it’s hard to capture the words to describe my experience.

Will do the best I can, which is to share a few impressions that hit me as I read through:

This is an important book to read as a young adult because it puts clarity around aging upward.  Young people with the privilege of choosing a career path do so based on – let’s be honest – scant knowledge about themselves, their area of interest, of what life holds in store.  Their pick is based on hopeful guessing.  They are 100% future focused.

A 21-year old can look at his 43-year old mother & think, “Without an endless horizon of to-be-discovered, what’s left for Mom?”  To youth, it’s all about tomorrow.  But by the time we hit 40, it’s beginning to dawn on the savvy among us that new, enriching layers have built up within us, the fertile silt of years that rushed by, leaving traces behind to nurture our growth.  Knowledge perception insights that aren’t future directed, but here & now rooted.  What is THIS moment holding? What am I doing NOW?  That is an awareness & perception that isn’t possible any earlier.

A young person reaches for a career that reflects  his or her interests and goals.  As we grow older, we gain experience, learn life lessons, discover the difference between likes & passion, realize that what we can do might not be what we want to.  The six-figure business woman might realize the she’s reached her corner office goal, but the return on her sacrifice is not what she expected.  Does she stay put or follow her heart?

Let’s look at that exec.  It could be that she is dissatisfied with what she’s achieved, feels that it doesn’t provide the rewards she expected or that they come at too high a price.  OR it could be that she’s achieved the goal she she set out for herself years before.  She’s achieved it & learned all that made that accomplishment possible.  Maybe it’s not that she is dissatisfied with her achievement, but that she is ready for a new goal, rooted in the person she became in order to reach the earlier one.

I came away from my first reading of  THE AGELESS  WAY with a new-found appreciation of how we evolve through the work we do pursuing a semblance of our original goals ~AND~ that in so doing we come to develop skill sets to take us – if we dare – in new directions.

Thinking about the publication date of THE  AGELESS  WAY – last year – gives me goosebumps.  For sixteen years, we have been hit with one emotional & economic disruption after another.

Twenty years ago, losing a job was a badge of shame to most Americans – now, it is practically a rite of passage.  There aren’t many jobs out there that provide the work satisfaction & generous income that had been our norm for most of our careers, but there is plenty of opportunity for people to go in new directions, to take risks & pursue dreams.

While I can only speak for myself – and this is before I’ve tackled any of the exercises she includes –  this much is already clear to me ~ ~ reading THE  AGELESS  WAY has helped me see what is possible.  Not just because of what Karen shares, but because of her unique way of presenting core information.

Every part of THE AGELESS WAY  supports an easy delivery of its message – that we are born to be Ageless.  Easy-to-read print with generous margins & lots of empty pages for jotting down notes comments insights.  The integration of manifesto & background & workbook.  The progression of chapters.  The use of quotes & sidebars showcasing bits & pieces.  Opening with foreword by 40-something Sandra Yancey -and- ending with an afterword by 70+ Rick Moody, both mega thought influencers in their fields.

Most of all, am blown away by how Karen delivers her message ~ through a full mental massage. Going back to Rick Moody’s description, Karen interweaves “Herstory & history with mythology & modern-day story, trend-spotting, resources, and each chapter’s clarifying questions… ”  Each of those touches a different area of the brain, sparks different synapses to light up & illuminate once dark corners of understanding.  Through the information she presents & the way she presents it, Karen leaves us literally lit up from within.  Astonishing.

Like Mom writing about my wedding day, it is almost impossible to describe all that is in my mind & heart about reading THE  AGELESS  WAY.  The bottom line is that it is a remarkably wise insightful empowering book by a woman I described in my Amazon review as eerily Forrest Gump-like, on the forefront of so many moments issues movements wrapped around facing down & ridding ourselves of self-destructive ageism.

This is just the beginning of my Ageless adventure.  Now, it’s time to roll up my sleeves, get myself a new journal & work my way through the exercises at each chapter’s end. Look forward to hearing about my adventures!

Until then, get cracking & get yourself a copy of THE  AGELESS  WAY!  Pick up a copy to share with a friend.  Get a circle of your friends together to experience it together.  And share your comments HERE.

Karen wants her book to start a grand discussion – let’s make it so!


Much as I appreciated the insights gained by reading Karen’s Visionaries Have Wrinkles , her book, THE AGELESS WAY, left me floored.

Opening up the large book, was impressed right off the bat with how it leaves plenty of space in the margins for jotting notes – priceless! Because of the generous margins it offers for jotting notes in the margins, it’s almost over-sized.  Praise be!

I am only up to page 121, but had to make The Ageless Way my first official book bravo. Oh, to have the financial wherewithal to put a copy in the hands of every 25-year old!

Karen describes herself as a “visionary trailblazer and game-changer” ~ my description is force of nature.   She is larger than life, ebullient yet grounded, a major force in rocking staid stodgy stultifying ideas of “aging” to their out-dated roots, ripping them out, replanting bold & bodacious ways of moving along the age spectrum.  What joy for me that we met & talked at last year’s Positive Aging conference, that we’ve stayed in touch (however lightly) since.

It’s no joke to say that Karen has A LOT of Forrest Gump in her.  She has a knack for being present at mega paradigm-shifting moments.  It is a thrill to see how all she is, all she has developed & nurtured throughout her life, is making such a magnificent difference in the lives of all of us because we’re ALL aging upward!

Confession:  I set this book aside on first reading, weirded out that she put 40+ younguns in the same category of Boomers.  Now,  a third of the way in, I deeply appreciate that she includes midlife.  I’d start even earlier!

How to describe The Ageless Way?  At times it feels like Karen is sitting with me, sharing a cuppa, telling me tales from her decades of work as a world shaker, trailblazing firecracker!  At others, it feels like I’m in the best sort of seminar.  Or having a literary version of a Vulcan mind meld.  And then there’s the task master, setting out at each chapter’s close “The Ageless Way Reflections” – – questions & exercises designed to help us along our own Ageless Way.

Throughout what I’ve read have been echoes of women & men who’ve graced my life from early childhood, who helped protect me from those staid stodgy stultifying concepts of aging upward that held so many others down.  I grew up with the image of women as amazing agents of change.  First & foremost – my mother.

While most other girls my age had mothers who silently telegraphed the message that getting their MRS was the most important thing they could do, mine was telling about her dream of being a steward on a great ship, a dream she pursued in her early twenties, learning that to get the position, you had to have experience & the only way to get experience was to have the position. She loved her job in the Book Section at Strawbridge & Clothier, delighted in sharing stories about the different famous authors she met, one of whom – Marguerite de Angeli – would become a dear friend of the family in later years.

As she grew upward, Mom modeled the best of best practices, sharing with youngers of all ages that as we grow older, the concepts we held of being, time & relationships ar liberated.  “My feet drag somewhat and I move a lot more slowly than I did, but most days my spirit soars, making itself felt more and more.”

How Mom would have smiled, reading, “This new sense of freedom to stand in her own shoes, to raise her voice” and agreed 100% that  “it brings with it a childlike energy – one of spontaneity, play, laughter & creativity.”

It was from Mom & her circle of friends that I first learned that younger folk might like to think they know it all, but it takes scores of years – not mere decades – to understand, that there is a vast chasm between intelligence & wisdom.

The Ageless Way is  a book that could only have been written by someone who remembers life in the dark past – 40+ years ago – when tick tocking past 65 seemed to many a fate possibly worst than death.  I marvel at all she has seen, at the changes SHE has helped bring about that brought us to this place, this moment where astonishing wonders reach out & touch everyone on every spot along the age spectrum.

Young people need this book because they long to hear voices like Oliver Sacks, quoted by Karen, talking about the 80s being one of the most enjoyable decades of his father’s life, how the older man felt “not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life & perspective.”  Younger people NEED  to hear that, whether they are in their late teens, thirty-something, or making their way through the midlife maze.

Being Ageless means, in part, developing this ability to step outside our lives, to step outside time, and see the world & life as it really is.  To go beyond simple knowledge & take that step into knowing.  To feel in our bones what time really is & to appreciate both the transcience & the beauty that is Ageless.”  – –  Thanks, Karen ~ I needed that.

So do we all.  Oh, to be able to give A) this wondrous book to everyone post-high school member of my circle of loved ones, along with B) the time to read it, then share their own impressions.  Maybe take a month or more to discuss it.  To talk about older role models it brings to mind, the qualities we most appreciate in them, how what they lived connect to what Karen writes.

The Ageless Way & Karen are to be savored like a fine aged scotch or fine vintage port – slowly, with attention to the layered flavors, with awareness & awe.